John Dillon

Senior Reporter, New England News Collaborative

A veteran Vermont reporter, John joined VPR in 2001. Previously, John was a staff writer for the Sunday Times Argus and the Sunday Rutland Herald, responsible for breaking stories and in-depth features on local issues. He has also served as Communications Director for the Vermont Health Care Authority and Bureau Chief for UPI in Montpelier. John was honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2007 for his reporting on VPR. He was the lead reporter for a VPR series on climate change that in 2008 won a national Edward R. Murrow award for continuing coverage. In 2009, John's coverage of an asbestos mine in northern Vermont was recognized with a regional investigative reporting award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

 

Ways to Connect

Gov. Phil Scott signs three pieces of gun control legislation amid boos and cheers on the front steps of the statehouse Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

S.55, a bill that became the unexpected hot-button issue of the session so far, was signed into law Wednesday on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse.

Stowe High School student Sam Robertson holds an American flag and stands in front of a truck.
John Dillon / VPR

In just a few months, young people — some who can’t yet vote – have led the U.S. and Vermont on a dizzying pace of change around gun control legislation. Far less visible are the students who favor gun rights.

The Vermont Gas pipeline to Addison County has been completed, but state regulators are looking into allegations of shoddy construction.
John Van Hoesen / VPR File

The Vermont Public Utility Commission wants an independent investigation into allegations of shoddy construction of the Addison natural gas pipeline.

Blue-green algae blooms, like this one photographed in the summer of 2014 in Lake Champlain, have many in the state concerned. A new draft plan proposes funding sources for water cleanup efforts.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR FILE

Vermont’s phosphorus pollution problem is almost a century in the making and persists today, as the nutrient contained in fertilizer and animal feed continues to accumulate in watersheds.

Jacques Rainville farmed in Highgate Center but low milk prices forced him out of business.
John Dillon / VPR

While Vermont dairy farmers are experiencing some of the hardest times in recent memory, their counterparts in Quebec are thriving. The reason is a complex system that regulates the supply of milk  and sets the price farmers receive.

Justin Turco of Ira came to Montpelier to deliver a message to Gov. Phil Scott after the Legislature approved sweeping gun control legislation.
John Dillon / VPR

A day after the Legislature passed a sweeping gun control bill, supporters of gun rights held a rally on the Statehouse steps to call the legislation unenforceable and unconstitutional.

Lawmakers gathered in the Senate at the kickoff of the biennium in 2017. Now, lawmakers will return for a special session next week.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

A weeks-long debate in the Vermont Legislature over controversial gun legislation came to end on Friday when the Senate held a final vote on a bill known as S.55.

Exterior of the Vermont Gas building.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

In response to detailed allegations about safety shortcuts, Vermont Gas Systems has agreed to an independent review of its Addison pipeline project.

A rally in Thetford two years ago criticized the USDA's move to allow vegetables raised hydroponically to be labeled as "organic."
Rebecca Sananes / VPR File

For a group of farmers and consumers around the country, the term "organic" just doesn't go far enough. They say the U.S. Department of Agriculture has weakened standards for food that is supposed to be raised organically.

Moose are falling victim to winter ticks, whose population is booming because of climate change. The state says some very limited hunting of the big animals should still be allowed.
Sandy Macys / AP

The state is proposing to drastically reduce the number of permits to hunt moose as the population continues to suffer from a parasite that has grown more abundant with climate change.

Layers walk around by the "egg mobile" at the Papineau Family Farm in Highgate.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A rule designed to insure poultry and their eggs sold under the organic label are from birds raised under healthy living conditions, including access to outdoors, has been withdrawn by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Michael Colby, right, of Regeneration Vermont, testifies about what he says is lax state oversight of large dairy farms.
John Dillon / VPR

One of the largest farm businesses in the state expanded its operation and constructed a manure pit in Franklin County last summer — without a permit or state oversight.

left: Screenshot from web.archive.org, right: U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Bernie Sanders inspired a political movement with his insurgent 2016 run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Yet he's been reluctant to acknowledge that his campaign likely got some help from a Russian covert propaganda campaign.

A deal is being finalized that would resolve financial issues related to the cleanup of the closed Vermont Yankee  nuclear plant.
Jason R. Henske / AP

A settlement that would allow the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to be sold by the end of the year has been reached, although state regulators still have to approve the deal.

Randolph Center farmer David Silloway offers free milk samples at the annual Farm Show. An oversupply or organic milk has stalled Silloway's plans to earn a higher price for his product.
John Dillon / VPR

Organic dairy farmers are getting paid less because of an oversupply of their milk, a market glut that’s led one major organic buyer to delay signing on new farmers.

Screenshot from WCAX stream of Vermont State Police Press Conference

Authorities are investigating an officer-involved shooting that took place after a traffic stop on Interstate 89 southbound Sunday, leaving one man dead.

Secretary of Natural Resources Julie Moore, left, says a federal rollback of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles sold in Vermont could thwart the state's push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
John Dillon / VPR file

Phosphorus is a basic building block of life. It’s in our bones, and it helps plants grow. But too much of this good thing is bad for places like Lake Champlain, where the nutrient fuels toxic algae blooms.

As part of its outreach, National Grid and its Granite State Power Link sponsored the Yankee Sportsman's Classic, an annual show that draws 15,000 for exhibits and workshops on hunting and angling.
John Dillon / VPR

On Thursday, Massachusetts will select bidders to supply thousands of megawatts of renewable, carbon-free electricity. Two of the competing proposals call for new power line infrastructure through Vermont in order to bring energy south from Canada into the Bay State.

The company that wants to buy and dismantle the shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has proposed a new financial assurance plan that the state is now reviewing.
Toby Talbot / AP/file

A deal to sell and dismantle the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant needs more money to make it work, and negotiations are underway this week to resolve the issue.

NorthStar Decommissioning Holdings wants to buy the now closed Vermont Yankee plant. The company has said it could decommission the plant as early as 2026 – far earlier than the timetable proposed by the current owner, the Entergy Corporation.

West Addison dairy farmer Rob Hunt has employed migrant workers for more than a decade. He says they have been vital to the success of his operation., and he's worried about their future.
John Dillon / VPR

An escalation in immigration enforcement over the past year has brought a new level of anxiety for the several thousand migrant farm workers living in Vermont.

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